onus's Word of the Day



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The Word of the Day for July 23 is:

onus \OH-nuss\ (noun)
*1 : burden
2 : a disagreeable necessity : obligation
3 : blame

Example sentence:
Everyone else on the overworked staff was relieved when
the onus of handling the new project fell to Cindy.

Did you know?
Understanding the etymology of "onus" is not at all
burdensome; it's as simple as knowing that English borrowed the
word -- spelling, meaning, and all -- from Latin in the 17th
century. We can also add that it's a distant relative of the
Sanskrit word for "cart" (a vehicle that carries a burden).
English isn't exactly loaded with derivatives of Latin "onus,"
but the root did give us "onerous" ("troublesome") and
"exonerate" ("to clear from accusation or blame" -- thus, "to
unburden"). Additionally, our legal language has "onus
probandi," which is often shortened to "onus." It means "burden
of proof" -- that is, the obligation of proving a disputed
assertion in a court of law.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

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